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ByKolles ready to race Vanwall LMH in WEC in 2023 if “welcome”

The ByKolles team will be ready to race its new Vanwall Le Mans Hypercar in the FIA World Endurance Championship next year if it receives “a welcome”.

ByKolles Vanwall LMH Hypercar

Team owner Colin Kolles made the statement after the release of images of the completed car, which is scheduled to begin testing next month.

It follows the rejection in January of the stalwart WEC team’s entry under the Vanwall Racing banner for this year’s championship.

“If we receive a welcome, we will be ready to race,” Kolles told Motorsport.com.

Asked if he believes the WEC organisation will make room for the Vanwall in the Hypercar class next year on the arrival of Porsche and Cadillac, he replied: “That is not for me to discuss because it is not in our hands.

“All I can say is that we have built a product to a very high standard.”

Kolles explained that the new prototype, which has been christened the Vanwall Vandervell LMH, will begin testing in the first week of April.

It is likely that its first runs will take place at the Most circuit in the Czech Republic.

Kolles said that a decision on who will undertake the first laps in the car had yet to be taken, but it is likely to be either Tom Dillmann and Esteban Guerrieri, who were named at the team’s test drivers last year and were expected drive the car in the WEC with Joao Paulo de Oliveira.

“We are just checking their schedules now,” he said.

Kolles is pushing on with development of the Vanwall LMH despite the uncertainty over whether it will ever race because the design will form the basis of a road car and a track-day machine.

ByKolles Vanwall LMH Hypercar

ByKolles Vanwall LMH Hypercar

Photo by: ByKOLLES Racing

"We have always said we will produced a 1000bhp/1000kg hybrid road car and that is what we are going to do," said.

Kolles stated that he had been given no reason as to why the team’s solo entry for the 2022 WEC was turned down.

“We don’t have anything in writing, except that our entry has not been accepted,” he said. “I am not aware 100 percent of the reasons.”

Kolles said his team always made it clear when it entered the WEC that it would be unable to contest last weekend’s Sebring 1000 Miles season-opener and would join the series at Spa in May.

He explained that non-hybrid LMH was delayed because of supply-chain issues resulting from COVID and Brexit.

The car would have been testing by now in preparation for Spa had the team received its entry to return to the WEC for the first time since a limited campaign in 2019/20.

“We could have run earlier, but after we found out our entry was not accepted there was no need to rush,” said Kolles.

Kolles insisted there is no dispute over the rights to the Vanwall name, saying: “The name belongs to us; we have registered it."

A British-based entity known as the Vanwall Group announced plans in 2020 to build a run of six continuation replicas of Michael Hawthorn’s 1958 Formula 1 world championship winning VW5.

The Vandervell LMH, which takes it model name for Vanwall boss Tony Vandervell, has been designed entirely in-house at ByKolles headquarters in Germany and predominantly manufactured by the team.

The car is powered by the normally-aspirated 4.5-litre Gibson V8, the last of three engines used in the Vanwall’s predecessor, the CLM P1/01, which raced in the WEC between 2014 and 2019/20.

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